SACRAMENTO – A well-known assisted living facility in Orangevale was hit with a $42.5 million verdict on April 25 for the family of a woman who died in the Eskaton facility.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the underlying incident took place in 2012 when a 77-year-old woman was drugged without her consent, which ultimately led to her being unable to chew her food, causing her to choke to death.
The judgment was for $35 million in punitive damages and $7 million in compensatory damages.
The lawsuit was brought by the Foundation Aiding The Elderly (FATE), an advocacy group housed in Sacramento. The group had filed a complaint with the state in 2012 against Eskaton FountainWood Lodge.
President of FATE Carole Herman spoke with the Northern California Record about the case and the situation of elder abuse as a whole in the U.S.
"The facility got cited by the Department of Social Services, that licenses assisted living in California, for misappropriation of drugs and not following doctor’s orders and giving drugs without consent back in 2012,” Herman said. “We are a very well-known advocacy organization, we are very aggressive and people know who we are. We have served over 7,400 families now and we work all over the country.”
Herman said the settlement took longer than it should have due to an arbitration agreement that was contested in court, as well as an appeal.
“This is monumental as Eskaton is pretty well-known in this community, but we have filed many complaints against them, though none of them have ever resulted in a trial like this,” Herman said.